It’s no secret that Under Armour has had some pretty inspiring and star-studded campaigns in the past. Now the brand is bringing on a little more awesome, kick butt attitude with former martial arts fighter Gina Carano, who will be featured in the brand’s campaigns this year. “I’ve always been an advocate of people taking care of themselves and living a healthy lifestyle,” Carano says about the new partnership. “The Under Armour brand expresses that in such an innovative way, and the people there are so welcoming, I immediately felt like part of the family, which isn’t the norm as a female coming from a martial arts background. I’ve always been different, but with these guys I feel like I fit right in!”
Carano trains in Under Armour products regularly, but her recent go-to product is one that surprised her. “I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I’ve gotten into the yoga pants! I never thought I would be a yoga pants type of girl, I used to wear old sweats or board shorts to train in but now I’m obsessed with the tighter stuff. They just hug in all the right spots.” (Editor’s Note: We so hear you.)
Though she’s spending more time on the silver screen than in the ring, she still hits the weight room pretty regularly to train. “I like to switch it up every day, but hitting pads and weight training will always be part of my life. I consider that like my yoga. I also recently got into running and hiking and actual Bikram yoga for mental toughness. And I’m also trying to exercise outside as much as possible, since the majority of my life I’ve been in gyms. I’ve been traveling a ton, but now that I’m back I’ll start training with a stunt group again and I’ll have some time to set my goals for this year. I feel like I always work best when I have my goals written down and mapped out for me.”
Keep an eye out for Carano in Fast and Furious 6, out in May!
More from FITNESS: Gina Carano on Stunts and Her Sexy Co-Stars
Gina Carano would have never imagined her life as it is today when she stepped into her boyfriend’s Muay Thai gym nearly 10 years ago. “I grew up in Las Vegas, which is a big fighting community, but never did so myself,” Carano says. “I entered the gym to try it out and one of the guys there said, ‘Oh baby, you need to lose weight. You’re fat!” She took that as a challenge, lost 30 pounds and went on to become one of the nation’s best female mixed martial arts stars (her record, combining MMA and kickboxing: 19-2-1). Talk about fierce!
She caught the eye of more than just fighting fans. Director Steven Soderbergh saw her spar—perhaps he even watched her as “Crush” on the latest incarnation of American Gladiators—and knew that she would be the ideal leading lady for his new action film Haywire, available on DVD now. “We had a four-hour lunch and I walked away with the job,” Carano says. Training from then on to be a freelance covert operative was intense: “For eight weeks leading up to filming, I spent three hours doing boot camp with Aaron Cohen [who has worked in counterterrorism], practiced stunts for three hours and trained in the gym for another two each day,” she explains.
Sharing the screen with big names including Channing Tatum (“hilarious,” according to Carano), Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender could have been intimidating for a new actress, but Carano took it in stride. “It was such a fun experience,” Carano adds. “I’m not like my character at all—she doesn’t smile and I’m such a goofball. It was really healthy to explore the more serious side of me, but I was smiling off camera because I was having a blast!”
So what’s next for the active actress? Carano is in negotiations to star in Fast and Furious 6. If everything falls into place, “I’ll be that girl on set just happy to be there. At this point in my career, I have everything to gain and nothing to lose,” she says.